My youngest granddaughter asked me for a pair of boots for Christmas. Wanting to clarify her request, I asked if she meant cowboy boots. She looked at me as only a child can look at an adult when the adult has not grasped what is obvious to the child, and she said firmly, "No, grandmamma, cowGIRL boots.
As any grandmother, I am no stranger to off-beat Christmas requests from grandchildren. I have bought things from drum sets to pogo sticks. Those may not sound like esoteric requests to you, but remember I have all granddaughters.
My son-in-law was not happy with the drum set, especially as it followed a talking Raggedy Ann doll. That doll was possessed and would begin talking for no reason at all in the middle of the night. That little girl's voice chatting away in the dark was unnerving to the parents of two little girls. Raggedy Ann was followed by a stuffed animal in Egyptian dress that danced and sang "Walk Like an Egyptian." It was a souvenir of the King Tut exhibit. My grandchildren loved it, but their parents grew to detest it.
Anyway, this request for cowgirl boots was the first I had had from my youngest granddaughter. Previously, she had been happy with whatever she received. So, I was determined to get those boots.
Because I did not want to purchase boots without her first trying them on, I picked her up after school one day and we went shopping. We went to the places in Covington that I knew sold western wear. But none of them sold children's boots. We went to several big box stores, but no boots. We went home empty-handed.
Everyone suggested we go to a western store in a city near Covington. I was relatively certain that my granddaughter's request for cowgirl boots was a fashion statement and not a desire to take up barrel racing so I was reluctant to visit that store.
I told a friend my conundrum, and she suggested I try the shoe store right off the square.
I went there one morning with a slim hope that they might have cowgirl boots. And, to my delight, they did. I was not sure of my granddaughter's size or even her taste in cowgirl boots and told the proprietor Vanessa, my problem.
That was when Vanessa turned into a vision of Santa Claus. She told me that I could bring my granddaughter in and she could try on the boots that were in the store. When we were sure of a size, my granddaughter could look at a catalogue and pick out a pair of boots that she wanted. The distributor was in Georgia. She would order the boots and they would be here within two days.
We were at the store as soon as school was out. The princess, as Vanessa named my granddaughter, tried on several pairs of boots and had her foot measured. Then she got to choose what boots she wanted from the pictures in the catalogue.
The boots she choose Dolly Parton would have been proud to wear 40 years ago at the Grand Ole Opry. They are white and have 3- to 4-inch fringe running down the outside seams of the boots from the top to just a fraction of an inch from the floor. They have fancy stitching and cut-outs which reveal sparkling silver stars.
I went back two days later in the morning to pick up the boots, and Vanessa told me she had ordered two sizes to be sure she had the right size and to bring the princess in to try them on.
The princess and I arrived, again, shortly after school was over, and I will never forget my granddaughter's face when Vanessa opened that box to reveal those woefully spectacular boots. My granddaughter was so excited and happy that her face flushed from her cheeks to her hairline. Thank you, Vanessa, for giving me what is now a cherished Christmas memory.
I hope all of you have a wonderful holiday and that you will make a memory as wonderful as mine.
Paula Travis is a retired teacher from the Newton County School System. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.